intend to leave, if may be, without an enemy behind ; and it will
not be my fault if we do not part with the best understanding pos-
sible. I foresee also how hard it will be, without divine strength, to
adhere to this resolution ; and I need your effectual and fervent
prayer in my behalf."
On the 7th, the adjourned meeting of the proprietors was accord-
ingly held, when there were present, in person and by proxy, twen-
ty-four voters; and the following resolutions were passed, with a
single dissenting voice : â€”
Whereas, The Rev. William Croswell, rector of this church, by a
communication made to the wardens on the 4th inst., states that he has re-
ceived an invitation to the rectorship of St. Peter's Church, Auburn, N. Y.,
and requests the opinion of the proprietors in relation to the expediency of
his accepting the same ; therefore.
Resolved, That we receive this communication with sincere regret, and
deprecate the dissolution of his present pastoral connection, convinced that,
during the eleven years he has sustained the important and arduous situation
of rector, he has been faithful and unremitting in his exertions to advance,
not only tlie interests of the parish, but those of the church at large in the
diocese, with a single eye to the spiritual welfare of the souls of those over
whom God in his wise providence has made him overseer ; and that the many
sacrifices he has made, and the unbounded liberality he has shown, entitle
him to our Avarmest gratitude.
Resolved, That a committee, to consist of three proprietors and the war-
dens, be appointed to communicate the foregoing resolution, and to express
more fully the sentiments of the proprietors on the subject. [Committee ap-
pointed, in addition to the wardens â€” Messrs. Johw Bacon, H. H. Hugge-
FORD, and E. W. Goddard.]
In discharging the duty thus assigned ' to them, the committee
presented the following letter : â€”
Rev. William Croswell.
Our beloved Friend and Pastor : The committee appointed at the last
meeting of the proprietors of Christ Church have enclosed the resolutions
246 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1840.
then passed for your consideration. In so doing, they conceive they dis-
charge but one part of their duty. These documents will constitute a part
of the Church records. It is expedient, therefore, that there be a vrritten
testimonial of the sentiments and happy feelings with which your parishioners
Were your own wishes alone consulted, this might be omitted. By the
unforeseen events of the future, our Church, by the direction of a benevolent
Providence, may become more and more distinguished as its numbers in-
crease. Therefore its history may be the more interesting.
From these motives we deem it our duty to enter on record the views of
the committee, and through them what they believe to be the honest and sin-
cere opinions of the great majority of the proprietors and members of our
Church. We speak in an especial manner of those who have attended since
your ordination ; and also of those who have, at a subsequent period, con-
nected themselves to our Church.
If ever it fell to the lot of a parish to enjoy the most disinterested, devoted,
and self-sacrificing pastor, ours has been blessed with it, during the whole of
your ministration, beyond example. The sacrifice has been on one side
alone. The only return we can make, is our ardent gratitude and love to
one who has ever been an anchor to our hopes and a comforter to our souls.
We cannot, dear sir, repress these spontaneous indications of regard, oth-
erwise we should do injustice to our hearts.
Your assenting to remain, will encourage and animate all to promote that
union and harmony, without which no church can be at peace.
With sentiments of much esteem.
We sign ourselves, your friends, &c.,
H. H. HUGGEFORD,
FRED. H. STIMPSON,
ELIAS W. GODDARD.
Boston, 7th May, 1840.
This communication was presented, it seems, in person, by the
chairman of the committee. A description of the interview, and of
its effects upon the rector, must be given in his own language :
" The chairman, Mr. Huggeford, came over to my study, and
with a voice tremulous with emotion, and in a style of most impres-
sive eloquence, quite overpowered my manhood. I felt relieved by
the first gush of tears which I have shed since the subject has been
under consideration, and all bosoms seemed to be too full for
In addition to this demonstration of hearty good will, he re-
ceived other assurances, which led him to hesitate in his decision,
and to weigh more deliberately the question of his removal. " I
confess," he says, " that I am in a strait betwixt two ; to depart be-
ing, on many accounts, doubtless, far better, while to remain seems
to be most needful for those here. What to do I wot not. Visit
Auburn I must, in redemption of my pledge ; and that fair village
may make a conquest of all my reluctance." Writing again, four
days later, he says, "I have not much light to throw on my affairs.
The proprietors meet on Thursday, to receive the report of tlieir
committee. Their own resolutions are so satisfactory, and the feel-
1840.] CHRIST CHURCH. 247
ing so strong in my favor through the parish, that I am more at a
loss than ever what I ought to do. I need ilhniiination. Seek it
for me. I cannot keep them in suspense at Auburn. And I can-
not leave here till the question is decided. I feel, I assure you,
This embarrassment was doubtless much increased by the receipt
of the following affectionate address, signed by more than eighty
families and individuals, among the regular attendants upon his
ministrations : â€”
To the Rev. William Croswell, Rector of Christ Cliurch.
Dear Sir : The subscribers, worshippers at Christ Church, have learned,
with the deepest pain and regret, that you have 'tendered your ' esignation as
rector. Having been permitted to enjoy the benefit of yonr niinistration for
many years, and witnessed your untiring exertions and great sacrifices for
the interest, temporal as well as spiritual, of the Church ; and feeling the
greatest respect and affection for you as their pastor, and believing that
your leaving at any time, but particularly under the present circumstances,
would be of serious and lasting injury to the Church, they are desirous of
giving you this testimonial of their regard, and respectfully urging you to
reconsider your determination, and consent to remain with us, assuring you
that they will do all in their power to render your situation as happy and
pleasant to you in all your relations as they trust your remaining will be
profitable to them and the Church.
Previous to the adjourned meeting of the proprietors to hear the
report of their committee, he addressed the following note to the
chairman : â€”
Boston, May 14, 1840.
H. H. HuGGEFORD, Esq., Chairman of a Committee of Proprietors of Christ
My dear Sir : Nothing could be more gratifying to me than the terms of
the resolutions adopted by the proprietors of Christ Church, at their meet-
ing on the 7th inst., unless it were the manner in which their sentiments
were conveyed to me, on the same evening, by yourself and the other gen-
tlemen of the committee associated with you. Were I to yield to my present
impressions, I beg to assure you that they would be decisive in favor of my
remaining in a situation that was never more endeared to me. At the same
tune the question is one which has so momentous a bearing on the pennanent
interests of the parish, as well as my own personal prospects for life, that it
ought not to be settled without great deliberation. I hope, therefore, it will
not seem unreasonable if I ask a few weeks' delay before communicat-
ing my final decision, in order that I may have an opportunity of consulting
with my friends, and be enabled to view the subject in all its aspects.
With every sentiment of regard and affection for yourself and the body
whom you represent on this occasion, I am, very sincerely.
Your friend and servant.
May 15, he writes, " Every thing is now satisfactorily adjusted.
The proprietors met last evening to hear the report of their com-
mittee ; and all things appear now to be precisely as they should
248 MEMOm OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1840.
be, and I have no time to lose in making my arrangements for
These preUminaries being thus settled, he next announces, on the
22d of May, another most important event of his life, â€” his betroth-
ment to Miss Amanda Tarbell, daughter of Silas P. Tarbell,
Esq., a young lady witli whom he had been well acquainted, and for
whom he had formed a strong attachment.
He left Boston on the 25th of May, and pursued his journey,
taking New Haven on his way, from whence he persuaded his
mother to accompany him as far as Albany. On the 29th he
arrived at Auburn ; and his first impressions are given in a few
lively sketches, which are detached from a long letter addressed to
his father, on the 1st of June : " I was met on my arrival here by
three or four of the principal people. The first impressions seemed
to be mutually favorable. I confess that I am much pleased with
every thing. The place is pleasant beyond my expectations. The
church is delightfully situated, withdrawn from the street, and
bosomed up in locust trees, which are now in full flower and fra-
grance. The parsonage hard by, and all its arrangements, just about
right. Mrs. Lucas (widow of the former rector) still occupies it,
and I am her guest. . . . The congregation yesterday was
large and intelligent, and seemed to be well satisfied with the ser-
vices. ... I have seen enough to satisfy me that an humble-
minded man might spend his days happily and usefully here ; and
if, on my return to Boston, I find it, as I probably shall, 'expedient
that I go away,' I shall not be disposed to look any farther.
The interior of the church rather disappoints me. It is
not in keeping with all without ; but the arrangements have rather
a common air. The monument of Bishop Hobart, and his bust,
however, glorify it, and make it worth a pilgrimage to see. His
spirit seems to brood over the house [the parsonage] wherein he
died, and where Lucas followed him to his rest.
' The chamber where the good man meets his fate
Is privileged above the common walks.'
You perceive that a change has come over the spirit of my dream
since I left New Haven. My health and heart seem to be better.
A burden is lifted off from my mind. The weather is delightful,
and the airs of this sweet little town are singularly refreshing, and
seem to make it, indeed, ' the loveliest village of the plain.' "
His next letter confirms all that he has said of his favorable im-
pressions in the foregoing, and he concludes to remain over a
second Sunday. He again writes, on the 12th, from New York,
giving his reasons for not returning by the way of New Haven, and
expressing his full conviction that it is expedient to remove to
1840.] CHRIST CHURCH. 349
Auburn, with as little delay as possible : " Unless something occurs
to change my determination which I cannot now foresee, I shall
resign the rectorship at once, get married forthwith, and push for
Auburn early in July. I do not yet know what reception I shall
meet with in Boston. In any event I have a trying ordeal to pass
through ; but I believe I am nerved for the issue."
It was amidst the trying scenes of this moment that the return-
ing festival of St. John the Baptist brought vividly to his mind and
feelings the eleventh anniversary of his institution to the rectorship
i)f Christ Church. Under the circumstances, it was a day of double
solemnity to him ; and he dedicated it to a sacred purpose. In the
cloisters of that church, where he had so long ministered, and of
which he was now about to take his final leave, he penned the fol-
lowing touching lines. They were enclosed to a highly-valued
friend and correspondent, the late Mrs. Elizabeth Sumner, of
Hartford, and are inserted here, as their most appropriate place.
ST. JOHN BAPTIST'S DAY.
It was a solemn day to me.
This twenty-fourth of June,
Eleven years ago ; alas,
That they have passed so soon !
And often as it comes about,
I meditate thereon,
And strive to follow, as I may,
Christ's herald, good St. John.
It was a solemn place to me,
That sanctuary old.
Where still we, after sixscore years,
The same high service hold.
And still 'tis good, amid the change
That sweeps o'er all beside.
To know that while these walls shall stand,
That service shall abide.
How many who were present then
Sleep in their tombs below !
How many to their ^istant posts
Have gone as I now go !
Of all the crowds that then were here,
How few are left behind !
And of that few, how fewer still
Who call that scene to mind.
250 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CKO.SWELL. [1840.
To me it is as yesterday ;
I see the whole proceed â€”
The bishop and the brethren round,
Who come to bid " God speed ! "
The holy altar, then withdrawn
Deep in its own recess.
Ere desk and pulpit crowded in,
To make its honors less.
O, it was not in mockery
That then I ofFered there,
In weakness, fear, and trembling tones.
The institution prayer.
How often, as I've paced those aisles
At sacred hours alone,
Have I recited o'er that prayer.
To God is truly known !
How little thought the warden gray.
That aught but death, the keys
Surrendered by his faithful hand,
Should ever wrest from these ;
That e'er this ancient fold should count
Their broken pledge no sin,
Or part, for trifling cause, the bonds
Of God's own discipline.
Dear Church ! as now that tender charge
I solemnly resign.
Some bleeding hearts will testify
The fault has not been mine !
For who could hear thy heavenly chime
With gladder heart than I ?
Who love thee with a fonder love.
Or in thy service die ?
God raise thee up some faithful man,
More prompt to follow on.
In doctrine and in holy life,
Christ's herald, good St. John !
Give him all boldness to rebuke.
And skill thy griefs to cure.
And for his heavenly Master's sake,
All patience to endure !
1840.] RESIGNATION OF CHRIST CHURCH. 251
Pursuant to the purpose already suggested in his private corre
spondence, he addressed, on his return from Auburn, the following
letter to the committee : â€”
BosTOPr, June 19, 1840.
Messrs. Bacon, Huggf.ford, Goddard, Farley, and Stimpson, Committee
of the Proprietors of Christ Church.
My dear Friends : After mature deliberation, and conference with judicious
friends, here and elsewhere, not without earnest prayer for the divine guid-
ance, I have come reluctantly to the conclusion to request the proprietors to
accept my resig-nation of the rectorship of Christ Church, on the last day of
the present month. However my judgment may dictate this course, it has
cost me a painful effort of feeling which I cannot trust myself to express.
Allow me, however, to assure you, that wherever Providence may cast my lot,
the interests and welfare of this ancient heritage of God will ever be near to
my heart, and that I shall always bear upon my memory the recollections of
my imperfect but well-meant ministrations here as the happiest employment
of my past life. Permit me also to commend you, and all its members, to
God's most holy keeping. I pray that you may be guided in the choice of
a successor who will as entirely unite your confidence and regard, and whose
labors will be crowned with much more abundant success. Above all, may
we so part, that the hallowed ties cemented by the intercourse of the last
eleven years may never be severed, but that hereafter, when all the changes
and chances of this mortal life are over, we may once more rejoice together,
with all tlie dispersed sheep of Christ's flock, as one fold under one Shepherd,
in the everlasting kingdom of God's dear Son. Amen.
With the yearnings of sincere affection.
Your friend and pastor,
P. S. I propose to take leave of the parish, with the approbation of the
proprietors, on Sunday morning, July 5, and to celebrate with them for the
last time, in my present capacity, the affecting mysteries of the Holy Com-
The action of the proprietors on this letter is thus officially
recorded : â€”
At an adjourned meeting of the proprietors of Christ Church, Boston, held
on the evening of the 29th of June, 1840, the wardens and a large number
of the proprietors were present.
The chairman stated, that the object of the meeting was for the consid-
eration, and acting finally, upon the application of the Rev. William Cros-
WELL to the proprietors to accept of his resignation as rector of Christ
The question being called for, was decided by yeas and nays, in the aflarm-
iitivc, in the following words, to wit: â€”
Voted, To accept the resignation of the Rev. William Cro swell, as the
rector of this church, when the official sanction (necessary in such cases)
shall have been given by the bishop.
Voted, That the wardens be authorized to communicate to the Rev. Wil-
liam Croswell, rector of this church, the acceptance of his resignation by
252 MEMOm OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1840.
The wardens, in discharging the duty thus committed to them,
addressed the following affectionate letter to the retiring rector : â€”
Boston, July 18, 1840.
Rev. a]Sd dear Sir : Having been appointed a committee for the purpose of
answering your communication of the IMi ult., requesting the proprietors of
Christ Church to accept your resignation as rector, it has become our duty to
enclose a copy of the resolutions adopted by the proprietors, at their meeting
on the 29th ult., by which you will perceive they have complied with your
That this duty is a painful one, you, who so well know our feelings, can
well judge. We deeply regret that any circumstances should have occurred
to render it expedient to dissolve a connection which it was hoped would
have terminated only with your life.
But the ways of Providence are inscrutable ; and may He in whose hands
we all are, overrule for good to you and us, this which now appears so great
May His choicest blessings attend you in all your future connections.
May He in mercy keep and guide you, until at last, having finished your
course with joy, having been made the happy instrument of turning many to
righteousness, you may be admitted, with those other luminaries who have
preceded you in laboring in this portion of God's vineyard, to shine in the
kingdom of God your Father, and with them, and all those over whom you .
have so faithfully labored, enjoy forever his blissful presence.
With sentiments of the greatest respect and affection.
We are, dear sir, your friends,
ROBERT FARLEY, ? w -q o
FRED. H. STIMPSON, \ ^^ardens.
To Rev. William Croswell.
These official papers are thus spread upon these pages, as the
unbiassed testimony of the people of his cure, in their collective
capacity, to his pastoral fidelity, and to his eminent qualifications
for the place which he had so long held among them. One more
voluntary and aff*ecting token of love and veneration, received from
a select number of his highly esteemed parishioners, on the day pre-
vious to his leave-taking discourse, may fitly be recorded in this
To Rev. William Croswell.
Dear Sir : The subscribers, a few of your numerous friends and parish-
ioners, with feelings of the deepest and unfeigned sorrow at the separation
which is about to take place, and tendering you their best wishes and earnest
prayers for your happiness in the new relations, parochial and matrimonial,
you are about to form, respectfully request your acceptance of the accompa-
nying CUP, as a small token of their respect and affection for you, and their
desire to be had in remembrance.
R. M. COPELAND,
C. P. GORDON,
E. W. GODDARD
FRED. H. STIMPSON.
Boston, July 3, 1840.
On Sunday, the 5th of July, agreeably to the notice given to
the proprietors, he took leave of his people in a farewell discourse
1840.] PARTING TESTIMONIALS. 253
Writing to his father on the 7th, he speaks of this valedictory in the
following terms: The church was thronged, and the congregation
were generally in tears. " It was, indeed," he says, " a moving
scene, and every indication of the most unaffected sorrow was visible
on every hand. The communion was never before so large on any
occasion. In the afternoon, the members of the other societies
poured in, in great numbers, supposing that the farewell discourse
was to be delivered then. Though disappointed in that respect,
they heard a capital sermon from brother Boyle, who spoke in a
few words, of myself and services, in a manner which it would have
gratified a parent to hear. It was a great, however sad, day to me ;
and I am receiving constantly, from every quarter, the most touching
testimonies of respect and regard, and sorrow for my departure.
My correspondents are particularly kind." He speaks with peculiar
emotion of the " beautiful cup " which he had just received.
From a mass of testimonials, and notes of kindness and affection,
which are found on his well-arranged files, a few only can be selected
as samples of the whole. The following, from the bishop and
clergy of Boston and vicinity, must have been exceedingly grateful
to his feelings : â€”
Boston, July 11, 1840.
Rev. and dear Sir : It is witli deep regret, that the undersigned, youi
brethren in the ministry, have learned that you have taken leave of the parish,
in which you have so long, so faithfully, and so acceptably labored, and are
soon to take your departure for another diocese. In this sentiment all, we
believe, who have the pleasure of knowing you, will be ready to share. Per-
mit us, on this occasion, to express our unfeigned respect and esteem for your
character and accomplishments as a scholar, a gentleman, and a Christian
pastor, as well as a true friend of our Apostolic Church, We shall not soon
nor easily forget your cheerful cooperation and valuable aid, in promoting
the cause of piety, virtue, and charity, in our Church and community ; nor
your willingness as a citizen, to take your part in advancing the interests of
education in this metropolis, or in any measures conducive to the public
Be assured, reverend and dear sir, that we shall rejoice to hear of your suc-
cess and prosperity wherever Providence may direct your steps, and shall sym-
pathize in any trials you may be called to endure. May you be happy in your
domestic and other relations, and after having long and successfully served
your divine Master on earth, have at last the joyful salutation, " Well done,
good and faithful servant ; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
Your affectionate friends,
ALEXANDER V. GRISWOLD,
lOHN L. WATSON,
ALFRED L. BAURY,
E. M. P. WELLS,
JOHN S. STONE,
THOMAS M. CLARK,
JOSEPH A. CLINCH,
Rev. William Croswell.
254 MEMOIR OF WILIJAM CROSWELL. [1840
The Right Rev. Bishop Griswolb, his diocesan, unwilhng, as it
would seem, to restrict himself to the formal terms of the ordinary
letter dismissory, thus commends him to his brother, the bishop
of the western diocese of New York : â€”
To the Right Rev. William H. De Lancey.
Dear Sir : The object of this is to transfer from the state of Massachusetts
to your diocese, the Rev. William Croswell. Merely to say, that for the
three years last past, he has not been justly liable to evil report for error in
doctrine, or viciousness of life, though eminently true, seems, in his case,
very unnecessary. He will leave behind him no clergyman of the Protestant
Episcopal Church more highly, more justly, or more generally esteemed for
the qualities which constitute and adorn the gentleman, the scholar, or
the faithful minister of Christ. While, with many hundreds of others, I
deeply regret his loss to this diocese, I may well congratulate you on such
an accession to yours. That in his new situation he may find friends, as
many and as cordial as those he leaves, is the prayer of
Your friend and brother,
ALEX. V. GRISWOLD,
Bishop of the Eastern Diocese.
Boston, July 17, 1840.
To these, it is peculiarly gratifying to add the following letters
from the Rev. Dr. Strong, of Greenfield, a beloved brother, with
whom he had maintained the most intimate relations during his res-
idence in Boston : â€”
Boston, June 20, 1840.
Rev. and dear Brother : As we are about to separate, under circumstances